Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens were upset early and the bleak opening day for Americans continued at the Australian Open on Monday with the women going 0 for 8 and two of the highest-ranked USA men joining them as first-round casualties.
Stephens hasn't won a tour-level match since her Grand Slam breakthrough triumph at the U.S. Open previous year, a losing streak of eight matches. A double pirouette soon followed and you couldn't wipe the smile off her face.
In 2017, Williams was the only WTA player to reach two Grand Slam finals.
Belinda Bencic sent an early shockwave through the Australian Open by dumping last year's finalist Venus Williams out of the first round with an impressive 6-3 7-5 win on Monday.
"It's a new situation for me". You only had to tune into the Open last year - or, indeed, the whole tennis year - to see Roger Federer, then 35, prove that yet again. "But of course, it would be nice to play somebody easier (in the) first round and get your rhythm a little bit".
"She's a tough player", said Zhang, who has happy memories of Margaret Court Arena - Zhang reached the last eight there after coming through three qualifying rounds two years ago. "I don't think I played a bad match", said Venus after a slam was left without a Williams sister in the second round for the first time since the 2011 French Open.
The 2009 champion's bid for a second Australian Open title and 17th Grand Slam win will continue with a step up in class against 52nd-ranked Argentine Leonardo Mayer, who gave him a four-set test in the US Open second round on the way to winning the trophy.
Remarkably, three of the four women's semi-finalists from NY went out on the first day here.
The fourth American semifinalist at Flushing Meadows, Madison Keys, is still in contention - she won't contest her opener against China's Wang Qiang until Tuesday.
A code violation for taking too long to eat a banana caused combustible American CoCo Vandeweghe to lose her temper, and then her first-round match, against Hungarian Timea Babos on Monday.
Another player who enjoyed success in NY was also eliminated, men's finalist Kevin Anderson.
Belinda Bencic put in a fine display against Venus Williams in the first round of the Australian Open to dump the 2017 runner-up out of the competition.
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Having climbed to seventh in the rankings in 2016, back and wrist injuries heavily contributed to the Swiss dropping to 317th last season.
Bencic warmed up for the Australian Open by combining with Roger Federer to win the Hopman Cup for Switzerland.
The turning point in the match came late in the first set when play was stopped to allow the roof to be closed because of rain.
Bencic, who was born a couple of months after the last time there was no Williams in the second round at the Australian Open (1997), hit 32 winners, had 12 unforced errors and converted five of 11 break-point chances.
But Bencic was not to be denied, coming from 0-30 on the Williams serve at 6-5 with the help of a ferocious backhand victor to get to match point and secured a famous victory. "I don't think I would be near that when I'm 37".
" Yeah, obviously just happy to be back playing".
"So this time I chose to come out and hit it big".
"I was thinking a lot about the last matches".
Given Bencic's form, don't discount a long stay in Melbourne. The U.S. women were 0 for 7 in first-round singles by mid-afternoon.
"It's wonderful, when I was a little girl, I was watching them on TV".
Stephens, too, has been troubled by a knee issue, but her confidence has also seemed to be a factor.